Canada’s economy lost 63,000 jobs last month, the first time the job market has contracted since the dark days of March and April, when COVID-19 was just starting.
Statistics Canada reported Friday the jobless rate came in at 8.6 per cent, a slight uptick from the previous month. It was 5.6 per cent last February, before COVID-19, and peaked at 13.7 in May.
Economists had been expecting the monthly numbers to be rough, since big provinces such as Ontario and Quebec went into strict lockdowns during the month. But the number ended up being almost twice as bad as the 39,000-job drop that a consensus of economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting.
It’s also the first drop since April, and a sign that the economic recovery could be running out of steam before the job market has even gotten back to where it was before the pandemic started.
As of December, Statistics Canada says there were still 636,000 fewer people with a job than there were in February. And an additional 448,000 people are working, but far less than they would normally be because of the ongoing pandemic.
Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter noted that 2020 will now officially go down as the worst year for Canadian jobs since 1982.
On net, all of the lost jobs in December were in the service sector, with the food and accommodation sector standing out with 56,700 lost jobs, due to so many restaurants having been shuttered.
“With restrictions broadening and lengthening since the December survey, we may well see another pullback in next month’s report,” Porter said. “But the good news, such as it is, is that Shutdown 2 is imposing a much less severe economic cost than in the spring, especially in sectors not directly affected.”
Economist Brendon Bernard with job-search website Indeed said while the numbers were certainly bleak, they are not the worst-case scenario.
“If there’s a silver lining, it’s that things could’ve been worse,” he said. “December’s drop was nowhere near the scale of the declines we saw last spring, and some areas of the economy, like manufacturing and professional services, still achieved solid gains.”
“Nonetheless, it’s clear once again that the job market can’t recover amid a raging pandemic.”
Participation rate drops
Leah Nord with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce was especially concerned with the fact that the participation rate — the number of working age people who either have a job or want one — fell by 0.2 percentage points to 64.9 per cent.
The drop “mostly comprised of male youth and working women, likely frustrated by the job search and staying home to take care of suddenly homebound children, respectively,” she said.
If that trend continues, that’s a bad omen for the job market from here on out, Nord said.
“As we look forward, we believe that many of the rebound gains of the last seven months are at risk of being lost, signalling a potential return to darker times for Canada’s labour market over the coming months.”
Canada’s numbers for December are broadly in line with the U.S., where the job number was also about twice as bad as expected, at 140,000 jobs lost.
Ontario reports 3,422 new cases of COVID-19, 69 additional deaths – 680 News
Ontario is reporting 3,422 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday with another 69 people having died as a result of the virus.
It’s the third day out of the last four that the provincial case count has surpassed 3,000.
More than half of the new deaths, 36, are attributed to long-term care settings. The total number of people in the province who have died as a result of COVID-19 now sits at 5,409. More than 400 people have passed away since last Sunday from the virus.
Toronto reported 1,035 new cases of the virus – the first time in a week that the number of new cases has topped 1,000. Peel Region reported 585 new infections, while York Region reported 246 additional cases.
Provincial health officials conducted 60,183 tests in the last 24 hours, the first time in three days provincial labs failed to complete more than 70,000 tests. That leaves the backlog of tests to be processed at just over 30,000.
Hospitalizations sit at more than 1,500, however, as is the case on the weekend a number of hospitals have not provided data to provincial officials. There are 395 COVID-19 patients in the ICU with 293 currently on a ventilator.
Ontario administered just over 11,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, bringing the provincial total to over 200,000.
Potential COVID exposure on two flights – HalifaxToday.ca
NOVA SCOTIA HEALTH
Nova Scotia Health Public Health is advising of potential exposure to COVID-19 on two flights from Toronto to Halifax. In addition to media releases, all potential exposure notifications are listed here: http://www.nshealth.ca/covid-exposures.
Anyone who was on the following flights in the specified rows and seats is asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. You can also call 811 if you don’t have online access or if you have other symptoms that concern you.
- Air Canada flight 604 travelling on Jan. 5 from Toronto (8:00 a.m.) to Halifax (11:00 a.m.). Passengers in rows 22-28 seats C, D, E and F are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 19.
- Swoop flight 408 travelling on Jan. 8 from Toronto (5:30 p.m.) to Halifax (8:30 p.m.). Passengers in rows 16-22 seats A, B, C and D are asked to continue to self-isolate and immediately visit https://covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca/en to book a COVID-19 test, regardless of whether or not they have COVID-19 symptoms. All other passengers on this flight should continue to self-isolate as required and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. It is anticipated that anyone exposed to the virus on this flight on the named date may develop symptoms up to, and including, Jan. 22.
Do not go directly to a COVID-19 assessment centre without being directed to do so. Please book an appointment online and do not go to a pop-up rapid testing location.
Currently, anyone who traveled outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to self-isolate alone for 14 days after arriving. If a person returning from non-essential travel outside Nova Scotia, PEI or Newfoundland and Labrador is unable to isolate alone, then everyone in the home where they are self-isolating will have to self-isolate as well.
When Nova Scotia Health Public Health makes a public notification it is not in any way a reflection on the behaviour or activities of those named in the notification.
All Nova Scotians are advised to continue monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms and are urged to follow Public Health guidelines on how to access care. Up to date information about COVID-19 is available at novascotia.ca/coronavirus
Ontario wants everyone vaccinated by early August, general says – CBC.ca
Ontario wants to have everyone vaccinated by late July or early August, the head of its vaccine distribution plan told CBC News Sunday.
The updated timeline came as the province saw 3,422 new COVID-19 cases and 69 more deaths, with Toronto alone recording more than 1,000 new infections.
Retired general Rick Hillier said while accomplishing the summer goal hinges on Ontario getting a steady supply of vaccine, there’s a plan to get them in arms.
“When they come, we’re going to be able to use them all,” Hillier told the CBC’s Rosemary Barton.
“I’d love to see the province of Ontario done by the end of July or early August with all those who want to have a vaccine and who are eligible to receive it. But until we get the vaccine allocation, until we know what’s coming, we just can’t do it.”
WATCH | Hillier’s full interview on Rosemary Barton Live:
Ontario has distributed the most COVID-19 vaccines of any province, but has administered only 72 per cent of the doses it has received. You can get the latest details by using the CBC News vaccine tracker.
For now, a provincewide stay-at-home order remains in place as Ontario tries to limit the spread of the virus.
GTA continues to see bulk of province’s new cases
Toronto reported 1,035 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, marking another day that the province’s biggest city also had the most infections.
In addition to Toronto’s cases, there were 585 new cases in Peel, 254 in Windsor-Essex, 246 in York and 186 in the Niagara area. The new cases drive the seven-day average, a key figure that reduces noise in the data, to 3,143 new cases per day.
A further 69 more people with the illness died, bringing the province’s official death toll to 5,409.
At least 1,570 people are in hospital, and there are now 293 patients on ventilators. Just over 3,078 cases were marked resolved.
There were 60,183 tests completed, and the province’s positivity rate is now 5.2 per cent.
Ford, Tory touring future mass vaccination site
Ontario has now administered 200,097 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and remains in the first phase of its rollout plan.
Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory toured the city’s first mass vaccination site, located at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, on Sunday.
Mass vaccinations haven’t started yet (long-term care and health-care settings are being prioritized) but the Toronto facility is set to serve as a blueprint for what could be coming to other locations in the coming months. The city provided these details about the mass vaccination site, which it’s calling a “proof-of-concept clinic”:
- Opens Monday, but not to the general public.
- Will start with 250 vaccinations per day.
- Will use the Moderna vaccine.
Tory said he hopes the test site will provide some hope during the grey winter months.
“Vaccination is soon to come and we’re just working away at being ready to do that,” Tory said.
Ford said the province will be ready when it’s time to ramp up vaccinations in April, May and June.
“Our goal is to get as many needles in people’s arms as possible,” he said.
The two leaders didn’t take questions from reporters.
When will you get a COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s a look at how the province is prioritizing its rollout plan
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